By Christopher Watkins

In a warm kitchen in Stony Brook,
above a heated stove,
a bearded chef keeps two eyes fastened
to a metal pot,
but the water doesn’t boil.

On a platform in Port Jefferson,
dampened by the rain,
a small, young woman keeps raising
her jacketed wrist to glare again
at her watch,
but the train doesn’t come.

On a grass patch beside the two-lane,
just past Wading River,
four young men in jeans and caps
sprawl around a bus stop,
trying to make their coffees last
until the bus finally arrives.

And in a vineyard off Sound Avenue,
as tractors hulk in silence in the first hues of the dawn,
a sturdy figure half-obscured by a flapping nylon poncho
rubs a nicotined thumb along a budless vine…